Keeping it at arm’s length

Even if the writer for Yahoo! Beauty had used an apostrophe in the idiom “arm’s length,” I think this would still be wrong:

arms length

The idiom “arm’s length” means “a distance that physical or social contact is discouraged” (American Heritage Dictionary). So what would it mean to keep something “within arm’s length”? I think the writer meant “within easy reach.”

Look at the f***ing picture!

So, the writer for Yahoo! Shine is creating a headline slash photo caption and doesn’t look at the photo? That’s what it looks like to me:

flyers no apos shine

If only the writer had considered that maybe, perhaps, perchance the apostrophe in the picture is correct, then maybe, perhaps, perchance there’d be one in the headline/caption. Ya’ think?

The real bellwether

The real bellwether on the Yahoo! front page is this misspelling:

fp bellwhether

It’s an indication of what you can expect on That includes a missing apostrophe in what should be men’s and an inert misspelling of insert:

fp mens

Let’s not overlook the misspelled Wells Fargo and yet another wrong word:

fp well fargo

Yup, that bellwhether was a real bellwether.

One group of journalists The Post writers don’t worry about

Jeff Bezos of has purchased The Washington Post. Employees of The Post may be worried about losing their jobs, but they won’t be losing them to the editorial staff at Yahoo! News. The Post has higher standards than this:

news the post

When I read “the 90s” I wasn’t sure if the writer was referring to the temperature or a decade. If it’s the latter, then it needs an apostrophe to indicate missing digits: ’90s. The failure to capitalize the in the newspaper’s name (it’s in the paper’s masthead, so it’s part of its name) is not likely to be overlooked by The Post’s editors. And the failure to capitalize The Post? Well, that’s just dumb.

John Mayer: A real lady’s man?

Is John Mayer a “man who enjoys and attracts the company of women”? Yes, he is, although I cannot imagine why women are drawn to him. Anyhoo, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, that makes him a lady’s man. Or even a ladies’ man. But not this, which appeared on Yahoo! omg!:

ladies man omg

‘Tis the season for missing punctuation

‘Tis the season for missing apostrophes and typos on Yahoo! Shopping:

tis the season shopping

The word ’tis is actually a contraction for it is and requires an apostrophe to indicate a missing letter.

David O. Russell and ‘The King’s Speech’

Let’s just say that you don’t need to be an expert on movies or writing to write about movies. You can misspell David O. Russell’s name and skip the apostrophe in “The King’s Speech” and still be employed by Yahoo! Movies:

Heck, that’s no worse than writing about the Jewish-Irish producer David O’Selznick.

Let’s learn from this

Here are some simple lessons we can all learn (or be reminded of) from the gaffes on Yahoo! TV‘s “Daytime in No Time.”

A misspelling and misplaced commas: A spell-check would have identified the misspelled liaison. It appears on many lists of the Top 100 Misspelled Words. In the U.S. a comma goes before the closing quotation mark:

A misplaced apostrophe: If a plural noun doesn’t end in S (like men, women, children), form the possessive by adding an apostrophe and an S (in that order):

A missing apostrophe: Let’s take a look at the contraction let’s. It’s short for let us. It’s the only common contraction that consists of a verb and a pronoun with a missing letter. But it needs an apostrophe:

Misplaced correlative conjunction: The pair either… or is a correlative conjunction that joins like words, phrases, or clauses. The collection of words on each side of or should be the same part of speech: If there’s a verb before the or, there should be a verb after it. If there’s a clause before it, there should be a clause after it:

This could be corrected by either this rewording:

they either had too much free time or just love to dance

or this rewording:

either they have too much free time or they just love to dance

The most abused character

What is the most abused or misused character? I’d say the apostrophe. It gets put where it doesn’t belong and omitted where it does, like here on Yahoo! Music:

What does it take?

What does it take to be a writer for Yahoo! Shine? The ability to spell? Knowledge of grammar? Punctuation proficiency? No. No. And no. You don’t need to know how to spell cuckoo. Phonetic spelling, even when wrong, is sufficient:

Do you need a commitment to quality? Nope. You don’t even need to check out what you’ve written to make sure it fits in the space you’ve got:

Do you need to fact-check? Not at all. You can actually make up “facts” like calling the Web site Stylelist Home something else. Do you need an extensive vocabulary? Nah. If you don’t know the difference between a stockroom and a showroom, just use either one and spell it anyway you want. 

Do you need to be creative? Not at all. The errors you make (and if you’re a true Yahoo! writer, you’ll make many) don’t have to be brand-new: a missing hyphen, a lowercase internet, and a mismatch of a verb with its plural subject — they’re all acceptable:

Carefree about caps? Good for you! You’ll fit right in with the other writers who will capitalize a common noun just because it looks like the name of a country:

Love hitting that Space bar on your keyboard to create two words out of one? Then apply now!

Knowledge of the spelling of waterbed not required. And it’s perfectly fine to drop off the apostrophe in ’80s and the hyphen in accident-prone. And if you think that Dramamine is a prescription drug (and not an over-the-counter one) that isn’t a trademark, no problem!

If you make up the spelling of other products like Tempur-Pedic and Sleep Number, you too can be a Yahoo!er.

If you think highbrow needs a hyphen, not to worry. It’s unimportant:

Too young to know that the old-fashioned desk was a roll-top? Too lazy to Google it? You’re hired!

Do you lack an appreciation of homophonic differences? Do you fail to check what you written to avoid jumbled messes? OK, then! Yahoo! may be the perfect fit for you.

If you don’t care about quality, if you don’t take pride in your work, you may have what it takes to write for Yahoo!.

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